Office Organization

Sunday, March 25, 2012 by grace

Office Organization

How much do you like working in your office environment? What do you like about your workspace? Are you comfortable in your office? Can you work easily for extended periods of time without feeling claustrophobic, distracted, or stressed?

Chances are you answered “no” to at least one of these questions and the odds are that you did because your office could use the help of a professional organizer.

Is Space The Issue?

Is your workspace noisy or quiet? Do noise levels matter to you? What about your space? Do you have enough space, too little, or too much space? I know it’s hard to imagine having too much space but some people, usually minimalists, feel less comfortable if they have too much space. If you are one of those people you are not alone.

Most of us prefer plenty of space and are often shoe-horned into smaller spaces than are productive for us. If you are like the majority of us your workspace is smaller, more cluttered, sub-optimally furnished, more cluttered, and less organized than is needed to maximize our productivity.

Morale – The Vicious Circle

Many companies are guilty of poor Office Organization because they fail to create a high quality workspace that supports optimum productivity in their employees. Compromised Office Organization tends to create a downward spiral in many work environments where disorganization feeds diminished productivity, which feeds diminished morale, which feeds further disorganization which leads full circle to diminished productivity and so on.

As office morale drops employees take more sick days – often because they don’t feel well. Their sickness may not always be as tangible as the boss would like it to be when taking a sick day — but diminished morale due to the vicious circle ignited by poor office organization leads to very real health problems – even if they are primarily emotional in nature.

Department heads often try various kinds of programs, seminars, training, and other such tactics in an attempt to bolster morale. One of the main reasons these programs fail to produce long term gains is directly related to the life sucking quality of the office environment. Lack of office organization is a common reason employees don’t want to be in the office.

The Human Factor

One of the key reasons Office Organization fails even when it is employed is because it fails to incorporate the human factor into its design and workflow concepts. Most office designers are not Professional Organizers and they design offices primarily to save space and provide logical traffic flow and a certain aesthetic appeal.

Some office designers go so far as to take noise factors into account and use acoustic treatments to make work environments more tolerable. But most do not take human thinking processes and human behavior into account therefore design spaces that are supposed to be efficient but are despised by employees. A Professional Organizer is uniquely qualified to take into account human psychology, design aesthetics, and economy of resources such as space, when creating a truly organized office environment.

Hypocrisy?

Surprisingly I’ve spoken with CEO’s and other department heads who maintain that employees are less productive if they are too comfortable in their offices. They have the audacity to claim that if their employees are uncomfortable they’ll work harder. Sitting in a CEO’s office I’ve been known to remark that his own “luxurious office” must then seriously affect his productivity. Some are not amused when I make remarks like that. However most immediately grasp the relevance and it’s usually good for a laugh. They know that an organized, relatively quiet, and pleasing environment designed to support good work habits tends to inspire an employee’s best work and their most productive selves.

Employee Retention

There are other payoffs such as employee retention. Some employers are too quick to forget that most employees spend so much time at work that they’ll take less money if their work environment and morale is high. They spend as much or more time at work than they do with their families.

Studies have shown that working in an environment lacking adequate office organization — can leave people up to three times as exhausted at the end of the day — as those same people experience at end of day in a more pleasant and functional environment. These people experience better morale at home after an intensive day’s work and therefore bring better morale back to the workplace. This is the antithesis of the vicious downward spiraling productivity and morale created by substandard office organization.

Things to Consider

Consider the human element of office organization as you scan the items below. Ask yourself how many of them have been addressed in such a way as to adequately support your productivity and that of those you work with. Also consider which ones are time and resource hogs because their impact has not been considered when designing your office organization strategy.

  • Time
  • Space
  • Data
    • Paper
    • Virtual
  • Communication
  • Filing
    • Long term
    • Short term
  • Sorting
  • Furniture
  • Activity Centers
  • Equipment
  • Office Supplies
  • People
  • Events
  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Prioritizing
  • Space
  • Time
  • Filing
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
    • Fax Machines
    • Printers
    • Radios
    • Keyboard/mouse
    • Office desk chairs
  • Storage
  • People
  • Paper
  • Data
    • Paper
    • Digital
  • Tasks
  • Scheduling
  • Systems
    • Communication Systems
      • Phone
        • Cellular
        • Satellite
        • Land Line
        • Digital Land Line
        • Commercial VOIP
        • Video Conferencing
        • Video Phone
        • Pagers
        • PDA’s
      • Email
      • Social Media
        • Twitter
        • Facebook
        • Youtube
      • Messaging
      • Message Boards
        • Digital
        • Analog
      • Calendars
        • Digital
        • Analog
    • Delivery Systems
      • Mail
      • Courier
        • Local
          • Bicycle
          • Auto
          • Truck
          • Foot
      • Interstate
      • Air
      • Ground
      • Sea
        • Overnight
        • Second Day Air
        • Manual Courier

After scanning this list how many “trigger words” remind you of areas that could be better adapted to human factors in order to efficiently maintain your office environment? You may not normally think all at once of office organization including so many things. Usually we think of items or areas one at a time or in groups. That is the primary reason why employing a professional organizer (usually as a consultant) is so crucial to maintaining a highly effective work environment. They think of the entire picture as well as how it can be segmented into activity areas or other organ-like divisions that all work together.

Office Organization by a Professional

With the workloads common to modern businesses it is virtually impossible to hire people that have both the necessary qualifications for their position, and the organizational qualifications to create a top notch environment. You’ll find it’s almost impossible to keep your office in top shape without periodically hiring an office organization consultant, who is trained, not as a design consultant, but as a professional organizer. Doing so is money well invested and will go a long way to ensure continued success in your organization.

Perhaps you are self-employed and you think that office organization is unnecessary because you are the only employee. Perhaps just you and a couple of part time support people. Does that mean that you are not ready for a comprehensive office organization strategy? Not in the least!

Cost Justification

If you are a single person organization or have just a handful of people you are more in need of informed office organization than larger companies. The fewer the number of staff the more you depend on getting the greatest possible output from each one.

You need every possible edge during your first years in business to prevent becoming a sorry statistic within the first five years of business. The cost of a professional organizer is minimal compared to the advantages in productivity they bring to your work environment.

Despite the many benefits financial and otherwise — the cost of periodically using a professional organizer is easily justified by as little as two factors…

Measured only in terms of:

a) reduced waste due to unnecessary duplication

b) reduction in errors due to being able to find things quickly

— you can hardly find a better place to invest in your business.

The loss of just one average customer (and their lifetime value) through a mistake due to disorganization is often greater than the cost of an organizer. There may be exceptions to that logic but they are fewer than you think.

Another Perspective

Think of it this way. As a one-person business if your office is disorganized – your entire company is disorganized! It is much easier to hire, train, and delegate to staff when you need to grow if you are doing so in an environment that someone else can step into and work free from needless frustration.

Get An Assessment

Regardless of the size of your company you’d do well to begin with an assessment of your office environment by a professional organizer. You’ll find out very quickly just how effective your office could be. You’ll begin to see how many areas you’ve gradually let slide within your office space. Or if you’re already a stickler for organization you’ll be surprised at the blind spots you’ve developed as various changes have occurred within your organization.

Take the time for at least a free phone consultation. You’ve got nothing to lose and often more to gain than you thought. Call me at 186 ORGANIZE (1-866-742-6493) for a pleasant discussion about the potential benefits you could enjoy from a professional organizer’s touch in your office.